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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My Gator Blades just arrived for my i1050!:bannana: See pics below.

FYI here's a posting that describes how I found the right part number in my case (Oregon pn 91-938) and where I bought them from. Paid $35 total for 3 including shipping.

I took off the deck, cleaned it up, put on the Gators and tried em out. Lawn was at about 4" (a few days of rain recently lately kept me from keeping it lower) and I cut it back to my usual 2-3/4".

They did a nice job. Aside from cutting clippings to nice small bits, I think the type of airflow they produce also helped the grass blades stand up straighter for a more even cut vs my factory blades (which in fact also had lift tabs, just not the gator style).

I kept the mulch plug installed, ran the engine at 3400 RPM and mowed at about 1/3 the tractor's top ground speed (6 mph) -- so about 2 mph. I did try some faster bursts and it didn't seem to reduce the cut quality noticeably or leave visible clippings, but I like meandering along anyway so I did most of the lawn at a leisurely pace.

The sound produced when the deck is running with the gators is a little more pronounced than with the factory blades (hi-lift), but not by much. I like to think it's a little more aggressive sounding now, but that's probably just my imagination.

Seems most others at MTF have had good luck with gator blades too. Add one more to the list!


Here's what they looked like out of the box. My spindles require the 6-pointed star hole type, but note that the hole in the gators is not exactly 6-pointed.. more like a star-hex hybrid. So if you don't see a true 6-pointed star hole pattern when you're looking at gators in a catalog, don't fret.. this tri-lobed hole shape works fine for 6-pointed star spindles.


Closeup of the label:


Here's what the ends of the blades look like. I've got two blades next to each other, one flipped over so you can see both the lift tabs and the cutting surface. The cutting edge was dull to start so I did have to make a pass on the bench grinder first before installing.


Here's what they looked like installed. Yeah, the deck is still a little crud-caked but it was a *lot* worse when I first took it off (see this post about mysterious white fuzz that was growing under there):


And here's a closeup installed:


Can't wait for fall (I get a LOT of leaves) to put these to work shredding those buggers too. Should help me pack even more into the Cyclone Rake before having to unload.
 

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Can't wait for fall (I get a LOT of leaves) to put these to work shredding those buggers too. Should help me pack even more into the Cyclone Rake before having to unload.
If you have the time when bagging leaves, block off your discharge chute and grind the leaves up first. Then do the bagging-Cyclone thing. You'll find that you get waaay more into the containers before you need to empty, even more than just Gatoring and picking up in one pass. Gators do a great job on leaves but even better when the leaves are contained under there with a plug. I use this method on my pine needles also and it cuts trips to the dump pile by 60+%.

This link will show the pine needle operation but it's the same for leaves.

http://www.mytractorforum.com/showthread.php?t=66304&highlight=pine+needles
 

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Deceased October 2017
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They are some MEAN looking blades ... I can't get them for my 44" Craftsman Deck for some reason .. They don't make them, as far as I can tell ?? Cant find them no where online :crybaby:

I am glad you like them :goodl:

HH is the man when it comes to leaf reduction technology here at MTF :ROF
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Discussion Starter #4
They are some MEAN looking blades ... I can't get them for my 44" Craftsman Deck for some reason ..
Ken, have you tried looking up your existing OEM blade part number in one of the 3 PDF catalog files on the Oregon site? I found mine by searching the "by manufacturer" document for my OEM blade partnumbers.

Not saying your blades will definitely be there, but those lookup docs do have a lot of blades.
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Discussion Starter #5
If you have the time when bagging leaves, block off your discharge chute and grind the leaves up first. Then do the bagging-Cyclone thing. You'll find that you get waaay more into the containers before you need to empty, even more than just Gatoring and picking up in one pass.
HH, I'll try to remember to give that a try...

Even without two passes (one with the plug as you suggest, the 2nd with the cyclone rake), the leaves will already get 2 shreddings anyway: 1. the gators should shred them somewhat upon lifting, and then 2. the Cyclone impeller shreds them a second time as they go through the debris path into the hopper.

But hey, a 3rd shredding (pre-shred with mulch plug installed) can't hurt. However it would involve a second entire trip around the yard, so I'll have to weigh that against the time saved having fewer dumps due to denser material.


Checked out your thread... That's a lot-o-pine needles.. whew!
 

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I too just added a set of Gator 3-n-1 blades to my Simplicity Prestige this weekend.

My Saturday project consisted of de-thatching the lawn first, hooking up the cyclone rake and sucking up the thatch and cut grass. After that, a batch of weed-n-feed applied to the lawn.

Gators worked really well. Cut was good (not any better than the OEM high lift blades) however, the grass clippings discharged are much finer. Lift was the same as OEM blades, but overall I give the Gators a high approval. Will be my blade of choice.

One tip if you do go with them, sharpen them before using. Mine had such a thick layer of paint on the blade edged they felt dull. Hit them up with a wire wheel to take the paint of the edge and they were then VERY sharp.
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Discussion Starter #7
I too just added a set of Gator 3-n-1 blades to my Simplicity Prestige this weekend.
[...]
One tip if you do go with them, sharpen them before using. Mine had such a thick layer of paint on the blade edged they felt dull. Hit them up with a wire wheel to take the paint of the edge and they were then VERY sharp.
Yeah, I noticed the same thing but figured the blades themselves had not been sharpened so I went after them with the bench grinder. Didn't think to try just removing the paint.:duh:

I've read elsewhere on this board that Simplicity mowing decks do a nice job producing good looking cuts in general. Maybe why you don't see much change in appearance with the gators over your OEM blades. In my case I guess there was room for improvement.:rolleyes:
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Another Question..

Tulsa says they are 18 1/8 long, Ag says they are 17 7/8 long..(??) Same part number 91-938..
I do remember seeing one website that said they measure length diagonally, that might explain the difference. I got the 91-938's.. let me go measure mine... I'll post measurement to this post as an edit..

Edit:
These are actual measurements of my physical parts, not taken from a document:

OEM blades (MTD #742-04053a):
Length, end to end: 17-3/4"
Length, diagonal: 17-13/16" (overall shape is rectangular)
Width: 2-3/8"
Material thickness: 1/8"

Replacement Gator blades (Oregon #91-938):
Length, end to end: 17-13/16"
Length, diagonal: 17-13/16" (ends are rounded, nice touch)
Width: 2-1/2"
Material thickness: 3/16"

So the gators are definitely thicker and wider, but won't scribe any larger of a circle than the OEM blades did in terms of potential interference with the deck, etc.

I got mine from Tulsa Engine Warehouse and mine are clearly 17-13/16" long no matter how you measure them (end-to-end or diagonal), so looks like you can safely ignore the 18-1/8" dimension Tulsa states -- it's not accurate.

The only other explanation I can think of for the 18-1/8" dimension is perhaps that's the length of the blank before it gets stamped into the gull-wing shape (why that would matter to anyone other than the manufacturer I don't know). My measurements above are straight-line measurements... I didn't bend the measuring tape to the gull-wing contour of the blades.
 

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Ken, have you tried looking up your existing OEM blade part number in one of the 3 PDF catalog files on the Oregon site? I found mine by searching the "by manufacturer" document for my OEM blade partnumbers.

Not saying your blades will definitely be there, but those lookup docs do have a lot of blades.
I will try that .. Thanks
 

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I think it's a good time to mention the "heavy paint coating" on Gator blades. There have been more than one case of Gators loosening up after installation due to that thick paint in the center bolt mounting area. It is a VERY good idea to remove the paint before installation to allow metal-metal contact here. The "paint" degrades under the mount/washer-bolt area and will allow the spindle bolt to loosen. The paint should be scraped/ground/sanded/etc. off to bare metal before inital installation.
 

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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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Discussion Starter #15
[...]It is a VERY good idea to remove the paint before installation to allow metal-metal contact here. The "paint" degrades under the mount/washer-bolt area and will allow the spindle bolt to loosen.[...]
Sounds like an excellent suggestion. So, the deck comes off for the 3rd time in a week...
 

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I put Gators on my 748 last week, mowed all weekend with them, and LOVE it. I also noticed that they are thicker than the OEM blades, weigh more, too. I'm going to try them out with my Power Flow to see if the dealer was right. He told me that you get a lot of blow-out around the front of the deck when using them with the Power Flow, and that it doesn't pick up as much grass. Anybody have experience with that?

How did yours balance "out of the box"? I had to grind a little off the backside of the "teeth" on all three of mine to get them just right.
 

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After reading this post earlier today, I purchased a set for my old Craftsman LT4000 today. I was in need of new blades anyway, so I spent the $38 for my 42" deck. Like a kid at Christmas, I was eager to try them out. I removed the paint (thanks Hydro and swreeder!) and installed them for their test run. With the mulch plug removed, I didn't see much change in clipping size over the standard Craftsman mulching blades. Maybe it was due to the "test" cut grass being 6-8 inches tall in the abandoned lot behind my property. Anyway, I cut some more of the "test" grass with the mulch plate installed and THAT'S where I could see the big change. No windrowing ahead of the deck or clumping. I also think that my results with the mulch plug removed when cutting regular length grass will affect their performance, as I think the taller grass may have overwhelmed the blades. I'll see what happens later in the week when I have to mow again.
 

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If you have the time when bagging leaves, block off your discharge chute and grind the leaves up first. Then do the bagging-Cyclone thing. You'll find that you get waaay more into the containers before you need to empty, even more than just Gatoring and picking up in one pass. Gators do a great job on leaves but even better when the leaves are contained under there with a plug. I use this method on my pine needles also and it cuts trips to the dump pile by 60+%.

This link will show the pine needle operation but it's the same for leaves.

http://www.mytractorforum.com/showthread.php?t=66304&highlight=pine+needles
True, you will definitely pack more into the containers. Be careful, though, not to chop them up so small you can't pick them up. If you get too many small pieces (dime size, roughly), they will make the ground a little bit sour if you get a few in a pile. I had a few dead spots this spring from them. I guess maybe they were too wet when I tried sucking them up in the fall.
 

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He told me that you get a lot of blow-out around the front of the deck when using them with the Power Flow...
With my 48C both the Gators and the OEM's blow out about the same which is not much, mulch plug, PowerFlow or not. Probably depends on how high the grass is and the height of the deck and forward speed... (Got the "JD anti-blowout extra cost kit" mounted on the right front side of your deck? If not there's a bit more stuff escaping. I added a piece of 1¼" black plastic well pipe to the bottom of the right side of my "kit" which stops a good deal of the blow out especially on sparse grass areas.)

...and that it doesn't pick up as much grass.
By gum, he's right on that one because a Gator is definitely not a "bagging blade". From what I understand it's made to keep the clippings under the deck longer for more efficient chopping (the reason for the slotted wings) so it's not blowing as much over to the PowerFlow vacuum area for pickup. I only bag w/Gators so I can keep up with my compost collections. I like the fact that some clippings are staying behind and making that goood nitrogen for the little grass plants.

If you get too many small pieces (dime size, roughly), they will make the ground a little bit sour if you get a few in a pile.
I'm trying for half that size when I do leaves, I want to powder 'em. Sharp blades and plenty of overlap on the "grinding phase" AND DRY LEAVES!:D True a pile of leaves can kill grass but I'm guessing it's more from the mulching over effect choking the grass rather than changing Ph of the soil.

When I'm done with my leaf job, there's precious little leaf material left behind in the lawn. The bare ground under the trees is BARE and the leaves are all cooking on the compost pile... Soooo I gotta fertilize more which produces more clippings, kind of a handy self generating process.:D The pickup ability of mower decks is directly related to decent design, how high they are set and which kind of blades are in use. Gators will bag leaves just fine but you have to allow for the ineffecient design for bagging and overlap more on the bagging pass.
 
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